First ever World Badminton Day was held on Tuesday 5th 2022 and was celebrated in the Cook Islands. This day was established to invite individuals and networks to encounter fun and comprehensive badminton, through an assortment of dynamic, connecting with, and imaginative badminton occasions. This is going to be a yearly event where all can take part in this phenomenon
Why the 5th of July you ask, well the first ever world body that governs badminton was established on the 5th of July 1934(formally known as International Badminton Federation IBF and now known as the Badminton World Federation BWF) had nine Member Associations at the time.
The Badminton World Federation’s Humans of Shuttle Time series presents the perspectives of those who work on badminton development at the grassroots level.
This month, they caught up with Hebrew Tom (Shuttle Time National Coordinator of Cook Islands) to discuss how badminton helped him to find new a new meaning in life, alongside his experiences with coaching, helping the community through badminton and its impact.
I’m from a tiny island called Palmerston Island in the Cook Islands. It is the smallest of the islands in the Cooks at 2.6 sq.km and a population between 27 and 58. Many families have moved on to other parts of the world to make a better life for themselves.
I was born and raised on Palmerston Island and moved to New Zealand in 1987 and did my schooling there, as Palmerston Island only has schools up to sixth grade. Most of my childhood I never had any kind of schooling as teachers were hard to find and replace. After leaving home and over the years Rarotonga and New Zealand became my home as I lived in both countries.
From Tennis to Badminton
I first played badminton during my senior college years. I was 16 and my initiation into badminton was by accident. I was a tennis player. One of my friends happened to be a badminton player and she introduced me to the game and asked me to attend their training session, so it happened that both me and my brother attended the training session and we loved it. After the first session we got hooked and continue to train and play in little tournaments at our local gym and while challenging other schools in our region.
What struck me at first was how interesting the sport looked and how challenging it was. I remember the hardest part of the sport was trying to hit the shuttlecock. The sport was totally different from tennis and the training was a lot more tense and interesting. The co-ordination is different and somehow I had to try and fit another sport into my busy schedule as I was also playing table tennis for the school. So badminton became the third sport I played for the school.
After leaving school in 1990 I didn’t get involved in the sport until 2015. I was living in New Zealand and came out to Rarotonga for a holiday and found out that the organisation had started and a good friend was the president of the association. Also, my brother was on the committee. After returning to NZ I was asked in 2016 if I would be able to accompany our first team to the Aims Games. That was a big eye opener for me, to be involved in the sport and see our kids grow and how much they have achieved.
It was our very first Aims Games. I met so many people and children through this tournament and we became good friends and I adopted the children as our own and that is the team from Tolaga Bay Area School. What made it special was when the team came over to Rarotonga for a holiday and had a little tournament with our players.
What Badminton Means
I’ve been told many times that I need a life outside of badminton. Badminton is life and I breathe and sleep badminton. I have to say badminton is my saviour. It’s a sport that is good for fitness and for health. In 2012 I was diagnosed with a lung disorder and was told I have the lungs of a 70-year-old man and only 41 per cent was working. It took a whole year before I got diagnosed and was told that I wouldn’t be able to do any physical activity and I would have to be on a disability benefit for the rest of my life. In 2015 when I came out to Rarotonga for a holiday and I got involved in badminton and gave it a try I felt fine, only with lots of huffing and puffing but nothing to send me to the hospital. On returning to NZ my specialist was shocked when I told her what I’d done. She ran a test and gave me the all-clear to carry on. I had to take one step at a time and have regular check-up every three-six months. So this is what badminton has done for me. It is my saviour.
Impact of Shuttle Time
Shuttle Time made a big impact in our region and in the community. By having Shuttle Time we managed to get a lot of people involved and the demand for the sport has grown to an extent where it was hard for the association to keep up.
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt after becoming a Shuttle Time tutor is that by going out and delivering Shuttle Time to schools and the community, you are not only improving the childrens’ and adults’ skills but also improving yourself and building yourself up.
Opening night Thursday 26th May 2022, Edgewater Resort, Umu hut, 5:45pm was a start to an awesome night of the first ever Badminton Oceania Masters in Paradise 2022, in association with Badminton Oceania. The night saw the blend and mingling of local players wth the NZ and Australian based players. The night was filled with canopies, Cook Islands dancing by Nicolea Mateariki, followed by a brief introduction from the teams and also the presentation of ‘Goodie bags’. The night finished with a bit of Karaoke and good music, before everybody retired to there rooms, resting for day one
The age was no barrier when it came to 5 first two days. With the oldest players in there 70’s. They showed no sign of backing down and rose to the challenge. There were also some fierces games played by our NZ teams yesterday, against our local teams. Hawkes Bay versus Coco Smash was one of them. Unfortunately, Coco Smash was unable to keep up with the number two seeded players, and lost 186 points to 91 points
Auckland Pinoy’s versus Mighty Royales was another tough match to watch, with some of the games scoring one each score everytime. However, Mighty Royale managed to win against Auckland Pinoy’s 129 points to 165 points, banking them a spot in division one. Full Results Here
During the tournament, there was also an umpires course practical test that was ran alongside the Masters in Paradise. Giving the chance for 11 individuals of mixed ages to put there theory to pratice and to be Pacific Umpire Accredited by Badminton Oceania, and received there Certificates during day 2 of the tournament
A ‘Yankee style tournament’ was also ran on day 2, to engage with other badminton players, generally made of junior players, which gave them the opportunity to play with NZ players. The day ended with everyone mix and mingling and enjoying pizza
Sunday, Captain Tama’s. The team got to enjoy the island excursion which included, a boat ride out on to the Motu(Atoll), swimming and snorkelling with the fishes followed by lunch and show (how to tye the sarong), and some more swimming, before returning back to the Edgewater
The day ended with a come and try out Air Badminton down at the Edgewater Resort.
Bring on the final two days. Goodluck to all teams in division one and two
The voting AGM was also a hybrid AGM, with a combination of personnel meeting in the same room and the majority of member association representatives and delegates joining via Zoom.
There were two nominations for the Presidential election: Geraldine Brown and Loke Poh Wong – both residing in Australia.
Geraldine has been an Executive Board Member since 2005, voted on as the Vice President in 2010 and elected as President in 2012. She will continue to contribute her services towards the development of badminton in Oceania as an Executive Board Member, while also continuing to fulfil the role as BWF Vice-President Oceania which she has done since 2013.
Similarly, Loke Poh Wong has been an Executive Board member since 2010 and undertakes the role as Events Advisor (previously the event’s committee), where he has provided support since 2012.
Ultimately, the votes swayed in Loke Poh’s favour and he has been elected as President from 2022-2026.
The result meant that the Nigel Skelt (New Zealand) was the only remaining candidate for Deputy President and will continue his position in the role which he has undertaken from 2005-2007 and since 2012.
Meanwhile, Glenn Cox was reelected unopposed to the Executive Board, a position he has held since 2017.
Badminton Oceania congratulates Loke Poh on his successful campaign and thanks all candidates for their loyalty and services to the overarching mission and vision.
“First of all, I’d like to thank Geraldine Brown, who was my mentor for many years and she has been a terrific President. Of course, I’d also like to thank Oceania’s members who have elected me as your new President, for entrusting me with such an honour and I hope to serve you well in this role. We really want to make badminton accessible to everybody in Oceania and have a racket in everybody’s hand. As a confederation of the Badminton World Federation, we look forward to delivering the programmes and exceeding expectations over the next four years”, says Loke Poh Wong
“I’d like to firstly congratulate Loke Poh, on his successful challenge to gain Presidency. I look forward to working with him as I am still on the Executive Board for Badminton Oceania and am proud to be a part of it. We look forward to working together in the future for the betterment of Oceania”, says Geraldine Brown
Thomas is our current serving President and has been for the pass couple of years. HIs inclusion with badminton has been significant with pushing out badminton to the more extensive Cook Islands, having done 3 out of 15 of our remote islands and with room to expand even further.
If Thomas is not attending to badminton, you can find Thomas helping out his Mother run the local Te Kainga O Pa Taunga Mental Health Centre and clinic. Te Kainga provides health services to the wider community and delivery programs to help there client overcome Mental Health.
“The most important thing about being a leader isn’t too much about the leading, it’s more about listening to those who are around you” – wise words from our next Serve-ing Pacific winner, Thomas Mereana-Ngauru (Badminton Cook Islands President)
He was nominated for his comittment to leadership, playing an instrumental role in the development of badminton across the country.
From the management of Badminton Cook Island, congratulations and all the best for the overall staycation prize
Music credit Bensound(Caption from Badminton Oceania)
Firstly, the Pacific Coaching Course was delivered to a total of 11 aspiring coaches across the week, with four women and seven men upskilling. The course bridges the knowledge gap between qualifying as a Shuttle Time teacher and the more extensive experience required for the BWF Level 1 Coaching qualification.
Since inception, the Pacific Coaching Course has aided over 62 coaches across the Pacific (14 face-to-face and 48 via online components) in obtaining the knowledge to assist their nation’s qualified coaches to train their respective national squads and player development teams.
The Cook Islands currently has five BWF Level 1 coaches (Thomas Manea-Ngauru, Ngaoa Ranaginui, Hebrew Tom, John Taulu and Eric Gamez) and will receive additional support across their ever-growing programmes thanks to the development of Pacific qualified coaches.
Across the same week, 26 players from tiers two, three and four of Badminton Oceania’s Player Development programme benefitted from the expertise of Robbie Thackham, who led coaching sessions to cover various techniques and tactics of the game. Particularly for the players in tiers two and three, the training aims to prepare players for a level of competition that is stronger than what is currently available in country.
“It was a pleasure to join the aspiring coaches and players in the Cook Islands who continue to show great enthusiasm for growing the game across the country. The coaches can now assist the BWF Level 1 coaches with confidence and every time I meet the junior players, I continue to see their improvement. The next step for them is to take advantage of the international tournaments as border controls start to ease throughout this year“, says Robbie.
Find out more about the Player Development programme here.
Meanwhile, another benefit of the trip was the opportunity to launch AirBadminton in country at The Edgewater Resort and Spa.
AirBadminton was officially launched in Guangzhou, China, in May 2019 and began a global rollout in 2020. The outdoor version of badminton aims to inspire more people, to play more badminton, in more places, while hosting the physical, mental and social health benefits of playing badminton.
Halted by the growing presence of COVID-19, member associations have gradually acquired the resources to increase AirBadminton participation. This will be bolstered by Badminton Oceania’s plan to include AirBadminton in the activities on offer across Pacific resorts, starting with The Edgewater Resort and Spa.
Robbie Thackham joined The Edgewater’s General Manager (Franz Staufer) and several staff members to show them how to set up the courts which uses an outdoor net and line set (with different dimensions to traditional badminton), alongside the rules which are unique to the game.
Following Robbie’s training, the resort was equipped with two AirBadminton sets (also used to host the recent 2022 Cook Islands Beach Games) to encourage tourists, guests and local player to play AirBadminton across their beachfront facilities.
The 2022 Cook Islands Beach Games took place across Rarotonga at the end of January, bring the island’s most popular sports together across their stunning beaches and backdrops.
AirBadminton, the outdoor game which launched two years ago, made its debut at this year’s edition of the Games. The new version of the sport is recognized for its accessibility to play badminton anywhere: on hard, grass and sand surfaces in parks, gardens, streets, playgrounds and beaches around the world.
Given the diverse range of landscapes and stunning scenery offered across Oceania, the alternative version of the game is an exciting opportunity for players to get involved, admire the urban or rural environments, while still benefiting from the multiple health and social benefits of badminton.
“This was the first ever AirBadminton tournament in the region so it’s very exciting”, says Badminton Cook Islands President, Thomas Mereana-Ngauru.
“It was a team event. They have had plenty of time to practice and prepare and everyone was looking forward to competing”, says Thomas.
Across the three days of competition, 60 players formed a total of 12 teams, with each rubber consisting of the traditional disciplines of single and doubles, while also introducing the new format exclusive to AirBadminton – triples.
The tournament took place at The Edgewater Resort and Spa – hosts of the Oceania Masters in Paradise 2022 – and eventual hosts of the Pacific resorts launch, where AirBadminton plans to be a recreational activity on offer to guests staying at resorts across the continent.
Despite finishing fourth in their pool, the team named ‘Bring It On’ turned it all the way up to 11 throughout the knockouts and went on to become the eventual winners of the inaugural AirBadminton competition. The team includes Danny Simpson, Carlie Marsters, Ambushia Mateariki, Kathleen Adams and Ahkim Tikaroa (pictured below).
“We were delighted to take home the first Gold medal. We struggled to come together during the pools but eventually found our form during the knockout rounds. It was an exciting and unique opportunity to play AirBadminton so competitively, outside. We hope to defend our title in next year’s Beach Games”, says gold medalist, Ahkim Tikaroa.
Meanwhile, the silver and bronze medals went to teams ‘Lessgho 2.0’ and ‘Team Assassins’, respectively.
Interested to find out more about AirBadminton? Get in touch with your local member association or find out more here. Learn more about the doubles and triples version of AirBadminton in the video below.
Congratulations to the first Serve-ing Pacific winner, Tinomana Naea, from Cook Islands. He was nominated for excelling with ‘Inclusiveness’ – one of five organizational values which Badminton Oceania embeds across all programme areas.
Tinomana is a committee member and Shuttle Time Tutor for Badminton Cook Islands and his hard work, loyalty and determination has never faltered since joining the organisation over four years ago.
His involvement has been pivotal to the delivery of Shuttle Time and badminton in general across primary and secondary school programmes and after school classes. Other members of the Badminton Cook Islands Committee acknowledged his extreme passion for the sport, always going the extra mile to balance his own personal and work life with the responsibilities to make room for school children and their ability to learn and develop through badminton.
Badminton in the Cook Islands has grown tremendously over the last four years (despite the challenges of COVID-19), including the ongoing annual primary school’s tournament (which always starts with a ‘Shuttle Time roadshow’), initiation of a mixed generation tournaments, ladies only sessions and increased Shuttle Time workforce to cater for the increased appetite among children, their parents and wider community groups across the country.
One key highlight in Tinomana’s time as a volunteer includes the success of a student group from Avarua School who he has been guiding and teaching Shuttle Time for the last two years, who consequently went on to win the junior division of the annual college tournament in 2020.
“He is a very proud coach. He definitely claimed the bragging rights, but it definitely goes to show, when you have great people supporting you and the dream, anything is possible”, says Thomas Mereana-Ngauru, President of Badminton Cook Islands.
“He’s had my back since becoming the President of Badminton Cook Islands and is extremely popular among the schools and their students in the Cook Islands. I know his story will inspire and encourage others to step up, lead and inspire others through sport”, says Thomas
While his list of motivations to volunteer was endless, some key factors included physical and mental health benefits, the ability to bring people together and in helping children to develop numerous skills.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing badminton grow on this island. There are so many people here who didn’t know badminton existed just a few years back – most people only knew about rugby and netball. It’s great to see there is another sport taking off which they can get into. It’s opened up a lot of eyes, especially for the kids”, says Tinomana.
“I like helping out people, helping out the kids and enhancing the awareness of badminton across the Cook Islands. For me, it’s all about getting to see the children grow. They start off very young and you watch them grow and some of them go on to win, even at the National Championships and it’s great to see them achieve so much”
Once again, Badminton Oceania thanks Tinomana Naea for his ongoing work and his commitment to upholding our values, particularly inclusiveness. While he intends to continue volunteering with Badminton Cook Islands for the foreseeable future, he is hoping that he can have an even greater impact on the organisation’s long-term vision by assisting with the planning and implementation of international standard badminton courts to assist their multiple development programmes and potential events.
The prize for each winner in Serve-ing Pacific is a lunch voucher which Tinomana and a guest can use to support local. Additionally, he will be the first to enter the random six-monthly draw (including the previous six winners) for the ultimate staycation prize, which will be drawn in May 2022.
Keep your eyes peeled at the beginning of January 2022 to find out who the next winner is.
Do you want to volunteer in badminton? Or do you know a volunteer who you would like to nominate? Find out more by clicking here.
On Saturday 11th December we will be holding our end of year Awards evening at 5pm at a venue to be confirmed. It is an open invitation to all our players, supporters and families to attend and to please bring a plate. The theme is Island Wear. There will also be entertainment and some fun games
We will be presenting the Awards for
· Under 11 National Champs
· Under 13 National Champs
· Elite Business Competition
· Open National Champs
And this year we have included 4 Special Awards which we will be calling on everyone to submit nominations with the winners being announced on the night. Each year we hope to add more Awards to the list and we encourage everyone to take part
Those Special Awards are
· Badminton Personality of the Year
o Nominate a player, supporter, coach or someone whose personality stood out and had a positive impact on you this year
· Junior Player of the Year
o Nominate a Junior player who has impressed you in 2021
· Senior Player of the Year
o Nominate a Senior player who has impressed you in 2021
· Photo of the Year
o Simply send through a photo from either off our facebook page or of your own that stands out to you and highlights the 2021 badminton year
o The winning photo will win a Cash Prize & grace the cover of our 2021 Annual Report
Send all entries and nominations to myself before 8th December 2021
Leading up to the competition, to sense the excitement from the players is pulsating
It was an action packed four evenings of Badminton Opens Nationals held at the TSA. Men’s and Women’s Singles were played on the 12th and 13th November 2021. Men’s and Women’s Doubles and also Mixed Doubles were played on the 19th and 20th November 2021. Furthermore consolation matches were also played.
Initial two days of Women’s and Men’s Singles hushed up a nights of vulnerability with nail biting matches. This year was another extremely tough year. At first there was elimination rounds which would later on turn out to be engaging matches to watch, everyone was out there doing their best.
However, reigning champions for Women’s and Men’s Singles managed to hold on to there titles for another year. Meeting with fierce resistance from both opponents and due to an injury for the Men’s singles, the opponent had to pull out.
Evening three and four were met with Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles. This year’s Doubles saw the return and inclusion of ex and newbie players added to the draws. This tossed several players in a furor while contending.
Our Grand Finals contenders for Men’s Doubles were from our U19 Squad VS our Elite players. For our Women’s Doubles they were from the U19 Squad VS U15 Squad. Pure extreme talent was laid out on the night with winner takes all. Unfortunately our Men’s U19 and U15 Women’s dual had not manage to capitalized during there finals and had succumb to the talent of our winners. Also, our reigning Champs for Mixed Doubles managed to also secured there title for another year.
The Doubles consolation matches also drew attention from a roaring crowd. Made up of losing teams from our first rounds and mostly U13 players. This made for an exciting match for our Juniors.
Congratulations to all our winners and to all those who were involved with making this tournament a success. Our prizegiving for Open Nationals alongside our Elite Social will be held on Saturday 4th of December 2021 venue tbc. Please book this date down and will see you all there for our celebration.